29.DEC.2016 5 MIN READ | 5 MIN READ

Most people find it easy to take the first steps to eat healthy but struggle to sustain it throughout the year.

Here are some tips endorsed by dietitians of Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital for a sustainable healthy lifestyle.

It’s the time of the year again as some of us scramble to squeeze in that last bit of exercise for the year to convince ourselves that we have indeed fulfilled our 2016 resolution of keeping fit. Others, however, have probably fulfilled that same resolution by having joined the growing community of spin, yoga or martial arts fanatics this year.

But is there more to a healthy lifestyle than working out? Absolutely.

Other than exercising, healthy eating is another, just as important aspect of leading a healthy lifestyle. In today’s world, individuals are spoilt for choice when it comes to food. Let’s face it, making a conscious effort to eat healthy once a month is easy. Once a week? Mayyyybe. All the time? Wait, what – are you kidding me?

The truth is that making healthy eating a sustainable part of our lifestyle is tough. Fortunately, not all is lost – not if you adopt these few simple healthy eating tips endorsed by dietitians!

Tips for a sustainable, healthy-eating lifestyle

1. Add a slice of lemon to your drinking water

Drinking plain water can be boring sometimes. Instead of getting a midday bubble tea or soda, consider adding a slice of lemon to your water to make it more flavourful and interesting to drink. Besides, lemon water can aid in digestion and detoxification, on top of being a source of vitamin C!

For those who find it a chore to carry lemons around, teabags are a more convenient option for a more flavourful drink. Besides raising antioxidant levels, teas like green tea also boost metabolism and fight radicals.

2. Order no more than the amount you can eat

Be honest, how many times have you forced food down your throat although your stomach is already bloated? While reducing food wastage is superb, the better alternative would be to opt for smaller servings and avoid overeating.

It can be as simple as telling the kitchen to serve a smaller scoop of rice or just holding orders off until your lunch or dinner group has finished all the food on the table.

3. Look for the healthier choice label

If anything, look out for the healthier choice label endorsed by the Health Promotion Board when grocery shopping. Products with the labels are lower in fat, sodium, and sugar and some are also higher in calcium and dietary fibre compared to other options within the same food category.

Well, if you absolutely have to get your sugared drinks fix (we still do not approve!), the least you could do is to purchase those with lower sugar content right?

4. Replace after-meal sweets with fruits

Rather than reaching for that pint of ice cream or that bar of chocolates, grab that apple (or actually any other fruit) to satisfy your after-meal sweets cravings. Apples are rich in antioxidants and can lower cholesterol levels.

Pro-tip: consume the skin too, to meet your fibre needs.

Besides, haven’t you heard? An apple a day keeps the doctor away!

5. Snack on nut and seeds

A chronic muncher in your office or at home? Instead of snacking on chips and biscuits, a much healthier alternative is to snack on nuts or seeds. Specifically, almonds are loaded with healthy fats, vitamin E, fibre and proteins. Lowering blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure are some benefits of almonds. Sunflower seeds, too, are rich in fibre and are also packed full of good fats, vitamin E and other minerals.

The best part? These healthy snacks are as easy to store as your chips and do not even leave crumbs lying around!

6. Have a salad day at least once a week

It’s easiest to work in 2 servings of vegetables and fruits by consuming salads. It is recommended to include greens rich in fibre and vitamins like lettuce or kale, and also orange vegetables like cherry tomatoes or carrots for vitamin C.

For protein, skip the fried options and head for grilled salmon, chicken breast or tofu for vegans. Add some carbohydrate foods like corns, beans or potatoes for a balanced meal, says dietitian Wong Hui Xin from Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital.

Do note that not all salads are created equal – creamy dressings, like blue cheese and Caesar, are no-nos! Opt for vinaigrettes and add some olive oil for a healthier dressing.

With these healthy eating tips handy, go forth and be a healthier version of yourself in 2017!

Article reviewed by Wong Hui Xin, Dietitian, Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital

29.DEC.2016